NPR Music and program directors from VuHaus‘ public radio music station network today announced Big Thief, Jamila Woods and Lo Moon as the inaugural class of “Slingshot,” a new effort among taste-making public radio stations to elevate the profiles of exceptional emerging artists. The video, interview and live event series kicks off today at NPR.org/slingshot.
Slingshot is a new music discovery initiative from NPR Music, VuHaus and their network of public radio music stations designed to create a launch pad for emerging artists.
Slingshot will introduce emerging artists – selected by the NPR Music and VuHaus network – and help propel their careers. NPR Music and the stations will roll out the red carpet for these artists by featuring them on national programs, like Tiny Desk, All Songs, World Cafe and Heavy Rotation; and on local features, such as guest DJ opportunities and live events. Performances, editorial and interviews captured along the way will be featured on the NPR website and promoted by the entire network.
To select the Slingshot artists, program directors from the 16 participating public radio stations each nominated two emerging artists that they believe to be most promising. Once the nominating process was complete, those same 16 program directors then selected their top five artists from the list of 32. This station-driven process narrowed down the artists to Big Thief, Jamila Woods and Lo Moon as the inaugural class of Slingshot artists.
NPR Music stations, from KCRW in Los Angeles, to WXPN in Philadelphia, WFUV in New York and KUTX in Austin, are the market leaders in developing new artists. This network of independent “Music Discovery” stations has introduced remarkable new talent such as Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys, Adele, Vampire Weekend, Leon Bridges and Sturgill Simpson to national audiences.
“This is an exciting and game-changing opportunity for emerging artists,” says Anya Grundmann, NPR vice president for programming and audience development. “We are eager to leverage the full power of the public media system to serve as a launch pad for talent and to connect talent with our passionate and discerning audience.”
“This collaboration is a great chance to flex our musical discovery muscles with our partner stations and NPR music, and take these acts to the next level.” said Matt Reilly, KUTX 98.9 program director. “In turn, Slingshot creates another opportunity for audiences to discover new and exciting music.”
Meet Our Inaugural ‘Slingshot’ Artists
Big Thief are Adrianne Lenker (guitar/vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass) and James Krivchenia (drums). The Brooklyn-based quartet’s newest release, Capacity, comes just one year after its stunning debut, Masterpiece, brought Big Thief in-the-know audiences and critical acclaim. The expectations set by Masterpiece were easily met by Capacity, garnering ecstatic support from the music press, including NPR, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, fellow musicians such as Jeff Tweedy, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Father John Misty, and simply everyday fans of Lenker’s quietly confessional and revelatory songwriting. NPR Music’s Bob Boilen called the song “Mary” “the most beautiful song of 2017.” Big Thief have appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and toured extensively, playing hundreds of shows in the past two years in the US, UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. They will bring an extraordinary year to a close with one more trip around the world.
Jamila Woods‘ cultural lineage – from her love of Lucille Clifton’s poetry to cherished letters from her grandmother to the infectious late-’80s post-punk of The Cure – structure the progressive, delicate and minimalist soul of her debut album, HEAVN (No. 27 on NPR’s Best 50 Albums Of 2016). Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Woods grew up in a family of music lovers. Now a frequent guest vocalist in the hip-hop, jazz and soul world, it took a surprise poetry class with a high school arts program for Jamila to finally find what is already a once-in-a-generation voice. In HEAVN, you’ll find the bits and pieces of the past and present that make Jamila: family, the city of Chicago, self-care, and the black women she calls friends. Her poetry studies continued in college and in her professional career with Young Chicago Authors. True and pure in its construction and execution, her music is the best representation of Jamila herself: strong in her roots, confident in her ideas, and attuned to the people, places and things shaping her world.
Lo Moon are a Los Angeles-based band comprised of Matt Lowell (vocals/guitar), Crisanta Baker (bass/keyboards) and Sam Stewart (guitar) whose sound meets at the intersection of artists like The XX and Talk Talk. With just two songs out in the world, the band is already one of the most talked-about new bands in Los Angeles’s indie scene. The trio have received early accolades from The New York Times, V Magazine, KCRW, the Los Angeles Times, and more. Having opened for the likes of Phoenix, Glass Animals, The Lemon Twigs, Air, London Grammar, and more, Lo Moon are currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album with producers Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and Francois Tetaz (Gotye).
Support for Slingshot comes from Spire Studio by iZotope. Learn more at www.spire.live.
About NPR Music
NPR Music collaborates with NPR’s newsmagazines, public radio Member Stations and the passionate NPR community to celebrate great music in every genre. Visit NPR.org/music to find the complete Tiny Desk Concerts series, live music, extensive archives of performances, interviews and reviews of artists from all genres.
VuHaus (pronounced “view house”) is a collaboration of public radio and television stations from across the country, deeply rooted in their local music communities. We share a common mission to support artists and be a source of music discovery for audiences around the world. VuHaus is a non-profit, non-commercial organization, with an aim to be true partners to artists while providing a unique window into the country’s most vibrant music scenes.
The VuHaus network includes public radio stations WFUV in New York City, KCRW in Los Angeles, KXT in Dallas/Ft. Worth, WXPN in Philadelphia, KEXP in Seattle, KDHX in St. Louis, opbmusic in Portland, KUTX in Austin, KTBG The Bridge in Kansas City, Mountain Stage in West Virginia, WGBH in Boston, Houston Public Media, WMOT in Nashville, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Colorado’s KSUT, KVNF, KSJD, KRCC, KRFC and The Colorado Sound, Vocalo in Chicago and NV89 in Reno. VuHaus receives funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and is operated by its founding partner, Public Media Company, a national non-profit organization focused on maximizing the impact of public media through innovation and strategic partnerships.